We’re at ALT this week!

Howdy readers, we are going to the ALT Design Summit this week to get inspired and learn from some of the world’s best bloggers! We went last year; Anna Lee Co. was just a spark of an idea and we had a great time. I thought I’d share some of last year’s experience with y’all to inspire you in our absence this week.

The first day we found the most amazing vintage shop, upon walking in the store I pinched myself. I mean this shop owner clearly appreciated the same wacky vintage colors, lines, aesthetic as me, this NEVER happens! I always seem to love the stuff people push aside. I was in heaven, and so was Jodi when she laid eyes on the typewriter, which she purchased and brought home as her SLC souvenir…

The conference itself was fantastic. We made new friends, met famous people (me and Mondo from Project Runway, I totally cried folks) and we ate some good food…

In between sessions there were sponsored lounge rooms including this rad installation from Honda launching their vintage clothing line…hellooooo my three loves: 1.vintage cars  2.vintage clothes  3. vintage graphics, I was totally inspired!

In the evenings there were some epic dinners and parties where we got to rub elbows with great folks!

Jodi won an iPad at one of these fabulous events to boot!!! She was pretty darn excited since she wished for it all conference long…

We stayed at a fabulous hotel the Little America. It’s appropriately across the street from the Grand America, the  glamazon hotel where ALT was hosted. The Little America was rad, and  it was clear that they had spent a great deal of effort to  “update” the interior to a luxe place. It was super fancy, but Jodi and I died at the old school details from the day when this hotel was a motor-in… (like the Futura font room numbers!)

Somehow we found time in between sessions and parties to do even more vintage shopping with our new friends…can you imagine our delight?!

After the conference was over we took the chance to tour some historical Salt Lake City sights…

The Grand America has the sweetest (pun intended) candy shop inside and we LOVED the display for the upcoming Valentines Day holiday…can’t wait to see how they could possibly top this in 2012!

So there you have it a visual summary of last year’s ALT. We’ve both been so busy we haven’t even had time to get excited for this year’s event. I’m certain it’s going to be fantastic, ANYtime I get to be with Jodi for multiple consecutive days is a treat! Wish us luck swimming with the big fish of the blog pond, we’ll send a full report afterward. (Follow us on twitter for updates this week @annaleeco)

#4: Gift tags

Sorry guys that I got a little delayed with my posts this week, I’m offering a 4th idea as an apology to you. When I was crafting with tags I got a little obsessed with using the functionality of the reinforced pre-cut hole on them! Then it came to me to use the tag as a tag, silly as it sounds! I’ve been a bridesmaid in a wedding or two when I was generously gifted a vintage brooch for my participation, and slipping these through the reinforced tag/hole works perfect! It would work really nicely to package a necklace as well.

#3: Tag Fans

I got married in the summer, in Texas, in an old church without air conditioning! Needless to say I had fans at our wedding for guests. I know they can be difficult to source, and almost impossible to make without a ton of time/effort. These tags offer a good solution for fans. To make simply stack 3-4 tags and fasten with a brad (the old-school kind you used for book reports) and there you go, instant fan! I stamped mine, to add a decorative element, you could also use a typewriter for something extra.

#2: Framed Fingerprints

I love the way these tags have an old-world, masculine charm to them & I’ve been thinking they look so good in multiples almost as a collection. Think vintage butterfly collection, or skeleton key collection, you get the idea. Mixing the informality of the tags with something as formal as your fingerprint and signature (as in an official document) works out well, what do you think? I LOVE the idea of having all your wedding guests do a fingerprint and tag but that might be an insanely large piece of art when framed! Paired down it could include the bride, groom, maid of honor, best man, and officiant. Or it would work nicely for a family activity perhaps from an important birthday or anniversary.

#1: Placesetting Name Tags

These tags work so well as place setting namecards. I used them for my thanksgiving table by wrapping the wire around each napkin (below) but I think they work great folded in half as well!

This Week’s Project:

Howdy guys, hope you’re settling in to the new year with ease. We’re excited to be crafting with one of our favorite items this week: tags. Some refer to these as luggage tags, the actual box I purchased at Staples refers to them as inventory tags hinting at their original intent/purpose. I’m afraid I couldn’t find a background to share on these, which makes me even more intrigued about their history. If you know or find anything please let us know! See you tomorrow with ideas on how to cleverly use tags for your next event!



Keeping With It

I’m excited to have been able to take this week to get organized and hopefully make this year’s resolutions a way of life. Focusing on making other’s feel important and appreciated is something that can do us all some good. I wish all of you luck and determination in what you resolved to do in 2012. Tell us what some of your resolutions are, we would love to hear them! I’ll leave you with one of my all time favorite resolution lists from Woody Guthrie, circa 1942.

image via (You can see it larger here)

Finding a Balance

I think a part of growing up is learning to say no and realizing it’s ok to take time for yourself. I’m horribly bad at both of these things so in 2012 I am resolving to find a better balance between personal time and time with friends and family but more importantly, making that time count. A couple of months ago I came across a new magazine, Kinfolk, and I immediately fell in love. I ordered a copy and when it arrived in the mail it was one of those simply beautiful packages that you want to make an event out of – and I did. I have since read through it 3 times and am anxiously awaiting the arrival of the next volume (any day now!). Not only is the magazine wonderfully designed with every attention to detail – it has become my new coffee table book; I enjoy so much of what Kinfolk is about.

“Kinfolk is a growing community of artists with a shared interest in small gatherings. We recognize that there is something about a table shared by friends, not just a wedding or once-a-year holiday extravaganza, that anchors our relationships and energizes us. We have come together to create Kinfolk as our collaborative way of advocating the natural approach to entertaining that we love.”

I realized that in preparing for this post I had already accomplished the first part of my resolution. I stopped and took time for myself. I curled up with my cats, a lit candle and a cup of tea to thoroughly enjoy a treasured new magazine. And what’s better is that I took on a new appreciation for small gatherings and dinner parties. As I look forward to moving into my new house I want it to be a place filled with friends and family and good times. I am a perfectionist to a fault sometimes and I often choose not to have impromptu get togethers at my house because I haven’t had time to vacuum or my dishes don’t match. I am resolving to let go of that and realize that good friends would rather be together and eat off paper plates than hearing about how I cleaned house.

I look forward to blogging about the many brunches and dinner parties soon to be in all of their imperfect glory and the “me” time I take in preparing for them. In the meantime, I highly suggest you purchase yourself a copy of Kinfolk and peruse their just as gorgeous blog. Enjoy.


Celebrating Birthdays

One of my favorite thing to do is celebrating others birthdays and making people feel special on their special day. It doesn’t take much to show someone you are thinking of them whether it be handpicked flowers on their doorstep or simply a written note. I find that I have more fun getting things together for someone’s birthday when I have ample time to prepare for it. Enter my birthday calendar. This was so simple to make and you can jazz it up as much as you’d like or keep it super simple. I used the same brown paper I purchased for yesterday’s project and fit two months on each 8.5″ x 11″ sheet. Just print out the correct number of days for said month (ex. 31 for 31 days in October) and put a little line next to each number. I chose to give mine a more handmade feel so once I printed those out and cut them in half I stamped the corresponding month on the top of each one (I am LOVING my new white stamp pad) and did some very simple illustrations.

All in all this took me about 2 hours – perfect for a weekend or evening craft. All you do then is write in your friends’ names on their birthdate. You can keep this from year to year since the dates don’t correspond with a day in the week – it’s just simply a date reminder! It’s always a good resolution to put a smile on someone’s face.


Written Correspondence

One thing I’m resolving to be better about is writing letters and sending cards. I am awful with sending a birthday card and having it actually arrive in time for someone’s birthday. I usually just end up handing it to them in person, tying it to a gift or foregoing the card all together and calling instead. It’s always been really important to me to make people feel special on their birthday and receiving a little something in the mail shows you remembered them and put a little thought into their special day. I realized that if I have cards readily available, I will send them! Which brings me to my card catalog. I went to the craft store and picked up a simple box and some brown cardstock. I cut nine pieces to the size of the box, each with a little tab. I decided it would be best to have cards in preparation for 1) birthdays, 2) anniversaries, 3) engagements, 4)  babies, 5) weddings, 6) thank you’s, 7) just because, 8) sympathy and 9) holiday. Now when I go to the stationary store and see a card I like I will purchase and file it away in my card catalog until the perfect occasion arises. And even better, I can make a card here and there when I have time and file that away too. I’ve found people love receiving handmade cards. I clipped a little label – “cards + greetings” to the outside of the box, which also serves as a perfect place to hold a sheet of stamps. I then put my return address labels in the box and now I have everything I need to send a timely written correspondence in one tidy little box.


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